Our admissions policy

Introduction

The University of Exeter believes that a diverse community is an essential part of its core values, and that diversity amongst our student body enriches learning, teaching, and research.

The University’s Undergraduate Admissions Policy sets out the means by which we will encourage and welcome applicants with different educational and social backgrounds.

The Policy relates to all Undergraduate programmes offered by the University of Exeter.

The University is committed to ensuring that no student with potential to meet our entry requirements is deterred from applying. All applications are considered and evaluated on the basis of individual potential.

This policy is consistent with good admissions practice in higher education, as defined in the Quality Assurance Agency’s Code of Practice* and the Schwartz Recommendations for Good Practice**, and complies with current legislation affecting the admission of students.

*The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2006) Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education. Section 10: Admissions to higher education – September 2006
**Admissions to Higher Education Steering Group (2004) Fair admissions to higher education: Recommendations for good practice

Responsibility for oversight of and changes to our Undergraduate Admissions policy rests with the University of Exeter’s Admissions and Widening Participation Policy Group.

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Admissions criteria and selection

General academic entry requirements

The University welcomes applications from appropriately qualified students offering a wide range of qualifications. Further details can be found on our entry requirements pages. International qualifications will be considered and evaluated by referring to independently published guides recognised within the United Kingdom higher education sector such as UK NARIC.

The University does not discriminate against applicants who have re-taken part or all of a qualification and will treat an achieved or predicted qualification grade in the same way irrespective of whether or not re-takes are involved (this applies to all our programmes including BMBS Medicine).

In addition to any programme-specific requirements, the University would normally expect evidence of some recognised systematic course of study within the three years prior to the start of a programme.

Competence in English Language

Teaching and assessment will normally take place in English. Therefore, applicants must be competent in the English language and most courses require at least GCSE English at grade C or an equivalent qualification.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country (eg Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British (not including the British National Overseas category) Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, USA)  and you have not completed full degree programme in Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize,  Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, UK or USA you will need to submit evidence of meeting the University’s minimum English Language requirements before starting your degree programme. Our website contains further information about our English language requirements.

Specific requirements at GCSE or equivalent

In addition to the above, individual Colleges and programmes within the University may set minimum entry requirements for levels of attainment at GCSE or equivalent, particularly in English Language and/or Mathematics. This information will be clearly stated within entry requirements for specific programmes.

Suitability of subjects and subject combinations required

Whilst we will normally consider a wide range of subjects as appropriate for entry to our programmes, applicants are advised to check individual programme requirements, where we will in some cases advise on preferences in respect of particular subjects or subject combinations that we believe provide the best preparation for study on that programme. We do not include A level General Studies in our offers.

Student Number Controls

From 2012 entry some changes were made to HEFCE’s Student Number Control system. Universities now have some limits set for the number of Home & EU fee-assessed entrants we can recruit at BBB or lower.

At the University of Exeter we use our own measures of equivalence to determine which applicants should receive offers and plan to continue to do so as we seek out the individuals with the most potential to achieve on our programmes.

The information we publish about our typical offers on our website and via UCAS continues to be the best guide to the grades we require. Please note however, that not all applicants who have achieved or are predicted to achieve grades in the typical offer range are guaranteed an offer. Whether or not we can make an offer will depend on a holistic assessment of your application and also on the strength of other applications we receive.

Other criteria

In addition to academic qualifications, when selecting candidates we will also take into account information provided within the personal statement and reference, particularly where this reveals extenuating or mitigating circumstances which may have affected academic performance.

We recognise that applicants may have gained experience which in some cases may be deemed equivalent to formal qualifications and may take this into account when considering applications. Applicants should supply full details of any such relevant experience as part of their application.

The University reserves the right not to consider an applicant for entry if the entrant has previously been withdrawn from the University on Academic grounds or due to submission of fraudulent documentation.

Applicants who have previously failed any part of a medical programme at the University of Exeter or any other institution will not be considered for the BMBS Medicine programme unless extenuating circumstances have been declared. Any declaration of extenuating circumstance should be referred to the University of Exeter Medical School for initial consideration. A final decision shall lie with the University of Exeter Fitness to Practise (Admissions Stage) Group. All students accepted on to the programme will be required to start from the first year.

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Commitment to fairness, transparency and consistency

To ensure a fair and consistent admissions process, the University of Exeter will ensure that the following principles are adhered to:

  • All programmes will clearly state their entry criteria, including academic qualifications, along with appropriate experience and skills required for entry
  • Entry criteria will be easily accessible through our web site and prospectus
  • Applicants will be informed in general terms how they can demonstrate their achievements (both academic and experiential) and motivation to study
  • We will provide clear information on required entry grades or grade ranges. Any amendments made after grades or grade ranges have been printed in the University’s prospectus will be publicised on the University website, and through Entry Profiles on UCAS website (changes will not be made after the 1st September in any given application cycle)
  • Offers will normally be made within the publicised grade range.
  • When assessing the merit and potential of applicants, selectors may also take into account the context of academic achievements by reference to data on school performance (see School performance)
  • An offer below the normal grade range may be made in exceptional cases where there is evidence that the applicant’s grades may have been affected by individual extenuating circumstances.

Where programmes include interviews or tests as part of their selection criteria we will make this explicit to candidates, and provide details on how the interviews will be conducted and the criteria used to select successful candidates. Further information is available in our Interview Policy

The University does not normally require candidates to provide additional written work to supplement an application, although in individual cases the University may request this and will explain the reasons for such a request.

Arrangements for interviews and submitting additional written work should include ensuring that applicants are invited to provide details of any medical, special or cultural needs that should be taken into consideration to allow any reasonable adjustments to be made.

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Feedback to applicants

Entry to the University is competitive and for many programmes the University receives more applications than there are places so not every applicant will receive an offer of a place. Where candidates are unsuccessful, feedback will be available upon request (see the University’s feedback policy).

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Late applications

Applicants who apply by the UCAS equal consideration deadline will receive full and equal consideration. Later applications will be considered on an individual basis if there are still places available on the relevant programme.

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The application in context

The UCAS application form includes a number of questions which give us details about the context in which applicants have achieved their academic qualifications (see below). Whilst we do not routinely use this information to inform our decision making, there may be occasions where the applicant and/or their referee asks us to take account of certain contextual factors which may have affected performance, and to consider this in making an offer.

Evidence of contextual factors will not necessarily mean that preference will be given to candidates, as each case will be considered on its individual merits. However, in cases where it there is clear evidence that contextual factors have affected performance and achievement, and where the applicant is able to demonstrate motivation and potential to achieve, the University will consider this as part of its holistic assessment of the application, and take it into account in deciding whether to make an offer, and the level of offer to be made.

Under our commitments through the Buttle Trust Quality Mark for Care Leavers we recognise the impact that being in Care can have and recognise this as one such contextual factor that may be taken into account when considering an application.

We recognise that non-academic excellence adds value to the University and that students who excel in non-academic areas (such as sport or music) can make a specific additional contribution to the University. We may therefore take into account non-academic excellence in our offer-making process.

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School performance

As part of our decision making process, we may take into account the educational context in which academic achievements have been gained, particularly if there is evidence that the applicant’s current or most recently attended school or college performs below a defined threshold.

For the purpose of this policy, a school or college falls below this threshold if they are ranked in the bottom 40 per cent of schools and colleges for which data is available in relation to the average score per A level entry, the average score per A level entrant or the average UCAS tariff per student. 

This performance indicator may be taken into consideration alongside all other contextual information to provide insight into an applicant’s ability, achievements and potential to succeed.

We will not use school performance data in isolation in the offer-making process, but may take account of it in deciding the appropriate level of offer within the published offer range.

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Applicants declaring a disability

We would usually expect reasonable adjustments to have been made to assessments to allow us to consider academic achievement against the same criteria used for applicants not declaring a disability.

However, if an applicant or referee feels that reasonable adjustments made during assessments were not sufficient to allow fair consideration of an applicant declaring a disability, this should be made clear as part of the application with supporting evidence provided if appropriate. We will then consider this information when making a decision on the application.

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Centralised admissions

The University is committed to providing a professional admissions operation in order to provide the best service to applicants. We operate a centralised admissions process in order to achieve this. Admissions tutors within the academic departments remain involved in the admissions process, and are responsible for agreeing the entry criteria and selection processes for each of their courses.

The consideration of individual applications for undergraduate programmes normally takes place in the central Admissions Office, where specialist admissions staff review the application on the basis of achieved and predicted qualifications, alongside the personal statement, reference and other relevant information. Where the applicant has non-standard qualifications or on occasions where the applicant narrowly misses the qualifications for the standard offer for a course, the application may be referred to the admissions tutor for consideration.

The Admissions Office is responsible for all communications with UCAS, including the transmission of admissions decisions.

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Responsibility of applicants in the application process

It is the responsibility of applicants to provide full and accurate information in an application and to notify the University of any changes or corrections to the original application.

By accepting an offer of admission, the applicant agrees to abide by the rules and regulations of the University.

In the light of additional information which was not available at the time of selection, an offer may be amended or, in exceptional circumstances, withdrawn. The University also reserves the right to correct errors where they have been made in the communication of decisions and offers. However, an offer made in error where all conditions have been satisfied will only be withdrawn with the applicant’s consent.

The University reserves the right to exclude a candidate who is considered on justifiable grounds to be unsuitable for a place on a particular programme according to individual circumstances.

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The offer-making process

Where an applicant has applied through UCAS the University will communicate our decision through the official channels of UCAS.

Where an applicant has applied directly to the University, a formal decision will be made and communicated directly to the applicant by the central Admissions office. 

Where a candidate has applied for one programme and is not successful, an alternative programme may be offered. The alternative offer will be officially communicated via UCAS, and candidates will also be contacted by the University to confirm and discuss a changed offer decision.

An offer, whether conditional or unconditional, will be made in good faith taking into account information as supplied by the applicant and/or referee at the time of the application. In some circumstances, an offer may be conditional upon non-academic requirements e.g. Police checks which are deemed satisfactory.

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Confirmation of results

'Confirmation' refers to the period in August each year when the University receives examination results for applicants who have accepted Conditional offers. Applicants who achieve the grades required by their Conditional offer have their place confirmed. Applications from candidates who have not met the required grades exactly are reviewed and their places may be confirmed if space is available, although no guarantee is made that this will be possible.

All conditions of offers must be met in full by 12 noon on the 31 August to guarantee a place for entry in the year of application. If conditions are met after this point we may be able to confirm a deferred place.

The Confirmation procedure includes receiving and processing electronic data from UCAS which, in turn, receives and processes electronic results data from the examination boards. The University reserves the right to amend the offer in light of an electronic error.

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Record keeping duties

The University will keep admissions documentation for all students who enrol/register at the University for the duration of their studies and for six years after.

Unless specifically requested, we ask that you do not send original documents in advance of your arrival at the University as we cannot guarantee the safe return via the postal system. If you are an international student you will also require the original documentation for the visa application process.

As part of the admissions process, if you are not successful in gaining a place at the University we will keep your documentation for a minimum of six months. Within 6-12 months of receiving an unsuccessful decision all documentation in relation to your application will be confidentially destroyed/deleted.

If you are offered a place at the University and decline, withdraw or fail to enrol, all your documentation will either be held for a minimum of six months. Subsequently, all documentation will be confidentially destroyed/deleted within 12 months of an applicant declining, withdrawing or in the event of non enrolment.

International students

As part of the University’s UKBA Tier 4 Sponsor Licence, the University of Exeter is required to view and maintain copies of all international students current passport and visa (valid for study at the University of Exeter) along with original qualification documents (including certified translations if these are not in English) on the basis of which admission was granted to the University.

The University of Exeter undertakes these checks as part of the registration process upon arrival. We cannot permit an international student to enrol/register at the University without undertaking this process. In addition to the documentation required as part of our UKBA Tier 4 Sponsor Licence commitments we will also store any other documentation sent to us in support of an application.

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Information shared with INTO University Partnerships

The University works with INTO University Partnerships to deliver a range of English and academic preparation programmes for international students through the INTO University of Exeter Centre located on our Streatham Campus.

In circumstances where the University has assessed your application and feel an INTO programme may be appropriate, we would like to share information with the Centre, so that they can send you communications on their programmes.

If you do not wish us to share your information with the Centre you can opt out as part of our online application process or by emailing admissions@exeter.ac.uk within 10 working days of submitting your application. If you email please quote INTO –OPT OUT in the subject field of your email and ensure that you quote your full name, Exeter Reference number and programme for you have applied, stating that you wish to opt out of shared information with INTO.

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Related policies

The Admissions Policy is underpinned by a number of other policy statements offering specific guidance on aspects of the process or for specific kinds of applicant:

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Disclaimer

The University reserves the right to make variations to programme contents, entry requirements and methods of delivery, and to discontinue, merge or combine programmes, both before and after a student’s admission to the University, if such action is reasonably considered necessary by the University.

In the event that, prior to the student commencing the first term of study, the University discontinues the programme, the student may either:

  1. withdraw from the University without any liability for fees, or
  2. transfer to such other programme (if any) as may be offered by the University, which the student is qualified subject to Dean’s approval.

If in these circumstances the student wishes to withdraw from the University and to enrol in a course at a different University, the University shall use its reasonable endeavours to assist the student.

April 2013

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